Umno supreme council member Mohamed Nazri Aziz has rapped Mahathir Mohamad as a dictator during his 22-year premiership, and mocked former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin of being nostalgic over it.
Chiding Mahathir as a dictator ala Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, he said comparatively, current federal government and the society were very open and democratic.
Under Prime Minister Najib Razak, Nazri said there had been more democratic space for people to raise any issue while there was none under Mahathir’s iron grip rule.
“There is openness now, which I think there was none then. Those days people were afraid to speak up,” said Nazri, also the tourism and culture minister.
He said Daim’s recent comments showed the former minister was nostalgic for the days under Mahathir.
Nazri was responding to an opinion piece by Daim, which was published in The Edge earlier this month.
In the article, Daim had said the government needed to address the chronic trust deficit and to get rid of the feudalism mindset, especially among those who were the trustees of the nation.
He suggested that a new economic team be assembled and empowered to fix the economy.
Nazri rebuffed Daim’s suggestion that a new key economic team was needed to strengthen the economy, saying the country had faced an economic downturn during Daim’s tenure as finance minister.
“It is not necessary for a new committee to be set up. There was an economic downturn under his watch and there wasn’t a committee set up. We just resolved it on our own.
“It is the responsibility of the government to look into it,” Nazri said, adding that other countries, too, were facing a similar problem in the current worldwide phenomena.
“Allow the government to resolve this issue. Maybe Daim is a bit nostalgic about his time when he was the finance minister under the dictatorship of Mahathir. It is a bit nostalgic for him.”